The Museum of Hoaxes
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Hoax Museum Blog Posts From
August 2006
Flower Urinals — Kathy Johnston sent along a link to these pictures of artistic urinals created by urinal sculptor Clark Sorensen. (I would love to be able to tell people at cocktail parties that my job was a 'urinal sculptor'.) Yes, they're real urinals, although I don't know if they're actually installed and being used anywhere. Check out more examples of Sorensen's art at clarkmade.com. I think a fake fly would be the ideal addition to his urinals.
Posted: Wed Aug 09, 2006.   Comments (6)

Quick Links: Card Trick, etc. — Card Trick YouTube video of a well performed card trick. I think it's a version of the "ambitious card" trick, in which one card keeps coming to the top again and again. I don't know how it's done, but I'm guessing it involves double-lifting cards and using a false shuffle to keep certain cards at the top (or bottom). Tom Dundee Condoms Banned in Thailand Thai authorities have banned a line of condoms named Tom Dundee, since Dundee in Thai means "Good Penetration," a phrase that they…
Posted: Tue Aug 08, 2006.   Comments (4)

Crackheadz Gone Wild — The Miami New Times have reported on the publicisation of the lives of crack cocaine users through Headliners Productions' range of Crackheadz Gone Wild DVDs. Crackheadz Gone Wild Miami will be the fifth such film. Debatable is the motives behind these films: Producers of the Miami version, who say their aim is to publicize the problem so it can be solved, have earned hundreds of thousands of dollars from the commercial release of the New York volumes. And though the company does not…
Posted: Tue Aug 08, 2006.   Comments (3)

Quick Links: Square Watermelon, etc. — Flora and I have decided on a more efficient way to post links that really don't need (or don't deserve) an entire post of their own. We'll just dump them together in a "quick links" post whenever we accumulate a bunch of them. Should mean more stuff gets posted. Here's the first such set of links: Square Watermelon Soon to be on sale in Britain. Really. "Boxes are placed around the growing fuit which naturally swells to fill the shape." Buy two and get a bonsai kitten free! (Thanks,…
Posted: Mon Aug 07, 2006.   Comments (18)


Is the “End of Serenity” Photo Fake? — I think what follows is an example of the truism that "we are most gullible when we are most skeptical." When United Airlines Flight 93 crashed in Somerset County, Pennsylvania on Sept. 11, 2001, a woman named Val McClatchey, who lived nearby the crash, managed to get a picture of the cloud of smoke from the crash rising above the trees. Her photo, which she subsequently titled 'The End of Serenity,' became quite famous, but now conspiracy theorists are suggesting that it's a fake:
Posted: Mon Aug 07, 2006.   Comments (23)

Buy Jake. — Following on from the woman who auctioned the rights to name her baby - leading to a child named Golden Palace Benedetto - and the sudden fads for offering bodies as billboards, comes buyjake.com. Traci Hogg has decided that her son is cute enough to be used as a billboard. For a certain fee ($100,000 if you want a year long contract), she will dress him in logoed clothes. As she says herself: "When I'm taking him places, everyone seems to notice him and notice what he's wearing. They…
Posted: Mon Aug 07, 2006.   Comments (15)

Al Gore’s Penguin Army — A video posted on YouTube, supposedly created by a 29-year-old guy from California calling himself Toutsmith, showing a caricature of Al Gore boring a group of penguins by lecturing them about global warming, has been revealed to be a creation of lobbying firm DCI Group, one of whose clients is Exxon Mobil Corp. The fraud was exposed, surprisingly, by the Wall Street Journal. It's not clear to me exactly how they did it, since I haven't been able to access their article, but from what…
Posted: Mon Aug 07, 2006.   Comments (7)

Buddha Rays — In Sri Lanka millions of people have been flocking to temples, and causing massive traffic jams, after the local media reported that images of the Buddha were emitting "miracle rays." I'm not sure what miracles these rays are supposed to have caused (or is it their mere existence that's miraculous), but apparently you need to stare real hard before you're able to see them, and the rays only come out of colored Buddha pictures: A white line could be seen running along the point where…
Posted: Mon Aug 07, 2006.   Comments (0)

Masturbate-a-thon — Yesterday Marie Stopes International, a sexual and reproductive health agency, sponsored Europe's first Masturbate-a-thon. (There's been a similar event in America for a number of years.) Participants got people to pledge a certain amount of money for every minute spent masturbating and/or every orgasm achieved. As Marie Stopes admits, it's basically a publicity stunt. But the part I find interesting are the rules which ban fake orgasms. They warn quite bluntly: "NO FAKING ORGASMS! Do…
Posted: Sun Aug 06, 2006.   Comments (2)

Black Eyed Kids (BEK) — Status: First-person accountsReports of BEK phenomena are becoming increasingly widespread on the net. Stories about these creepy adolescents with entirely black eyes and a threatening manner have been cropping up in first-person reports ever more frequently since 1998, when journalist Brian Bethel first wrote about his experience with BEKs. These accounts follow a regular pattern: Most accounts occur at the individual's home. There is a knock on the door and on the other side,…
Posted: Sun Aug 06, 2006.   Comments (78)

Does God Love Rats? — I attended an episcopalian high school, which meant that I had to sit through a chapel service every day. Thankfully the services were never fire-and-brimstone stuff. These were Episcopalians, after all. Instead, they were most often like general-interest lectures. But one service in particular has stuck in my mind, during which whoever was giving the service described an unusual experiment involving the relationship between rats and God. I think the experiment might be an interesting…
Posted: Sat Aug 05, 2006.   Comments (17)

Han van Meegeren Biography — The Guardian has a review of a new biography of the notorious art forger Han van Meegeren. The biography, by Frank Wynne, is titled I Was Vermeer: The Legend of the Forger who Swindled the Nazis. Van Meegeren, who was driven to a career in forgery by anger at being ignored by the art establishment, ended up becoming fantastically wealthy from his career in deception, before his downfall: Though he made a fortune from his forgeries, in the end owning some 15 country houses and 52 other…
Posted: Sat Aug 05, 2006.   Comments (1)

Some Announcements — Two things to announce. First, I've got a deal to write another book. But it's not another book about hoaxes, so it will be a bit of a new direction for me. It'll be a book about unusual scientific experiments. The kind of experiments that make people say, "Did they really do that?" Experiments such as Stanley Milgram's electric-shock experiments, Ewen Cameron's brainwashing experiments, Louis Jolyon West's "elephant on acid" experiment, as well as some more light-hearted ones. I've…
Posted: Fri Aug 04, 2006.   Comments (31)

Journalist Fakes Bill Gates Interview — Status: News Microsoft has accused a Norwegian journalist of fabricating, out of thin air, an interview with Bill Gates. Bjoern Benkow, the journalist in question, claimed that he interviewed Gates while onboard a commercial flight. Gates apparently didn't share any interesting secrets with the guy, only that "rival search engine giant Google (nasdaq: GOOG - news - people ) has "been smart," that he never carries more than a "dime" in his pocket and that he occasionally places $1 bets…
Posted: Fri Aug 04, 2006.   Comments (4)

Hello, A Bomb Is Coming — Status: Weird and disturbing practical joke The Israeli army has been phoning homes in Lebanon to warn the people inside that a bomb is about to drop. This is odd, but true. But even odder is that this practice has now inspired Palestinian practical jokers. Hurriyet reports: Palestinians turned the "hello, a bomb is coming" phone calls into a prank joke amongst themselves. The prank has become so popular in recent weeks that the main Palestinian prosecutor's offices have forbidden…
Posted: Fri Aug 04, 2006.   Comments (1)

Pray For Less Crime — Status: Stupidity in the news Just a week ago there was a town in Texas praying for rain. Before that we saw prayer as a treatment for cancer. Now a town in England is going to encourage local residents to pray for less crime. I'm sensing a trend: The Lincolnshire branch of the Christian Police Association is setting up a "Prayer Watch" scheme to alert Christians to local crimes. As well as encouraging worshippers to keep an eye out on their churches and each other, the police said the…
Posted: Fri Aug 04, 2006.   Comments (7)

Disguise Your Doberman As A Poodle — Status: Joke product Attackchi.org is offering a "Poodle disguise kit for Dobermans" for people who worry that they'll be criticized while out in public for having a dangerous breed of dog. The kit includes: Fake fur pieces (4 leg pieces, one body piece, and head piece), Black face paint (safe for dogs), Safe suit fitting method statement and instructions. However, they warn that "dressing your dog like this will increase the chance of it biting you." They promise that other kits are…
Posted: Wed Aug 02, 2006.   Comments (20)

Foot Myths — image: bastetThe Xenna Corporation has issued a press release in which they detail a number of widely circulated myths about feet. These include: • If a person's second toe is longer than the others, they are dependable, conservative and keep their emotions in check. • If a person's third toe is bigger than the others, they're hot-headed and have a temper. • If a person has long toes, they're among the thinkers of the world. • If a person's feet are wide, they're a hard worker and have…
Posted: Wed Aug 02, 2006.   Comments (25)

TP Victim Gets Revenge — Status: News Toilet-papering a house isn't a very original prank, and if it causes property damage (such as in the case below where the vandals smeared dog food and flour before covering it up with toilet paper), it's just plain obnoxious. So I totally support what California woman Katja Base did after waking to find her home TP'ed. She used some smart sleuthing to track down the people who did it and turned them in to the police: She began by canvassing area stores asking them to look…
Posted: Wed Aug 02, 2006.   Comments (4)

Thief Plays Dead To Avoid Arrest — Status: Dumb criminal German police report an encounter with a master criminal who, when caught in the act of stealing a computer, tried the old "pretend you're dead" act to elude capture: The 51-year-old sneaked into a company in the town of Hildesheim late Monday and tried to make off with a computer when the owner discovered him and called the police. The man had fled into the boiler room, where they found him lying on the floor, police said in a statement. He had a pulse, but was…
Posted: Wed Aug 02, 2006.   Comments (3)

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